Biden, Zelenskiy discuss US aid following mutiny

(Bloomberg) – Russian officials met with allies including China and North Korea a day after Wagner mercenary group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin halted his advance on Moscow. The sudden reversal defused the greatest threat to President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power for nearly a quarter of a century.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the uprising posed a direct challenge to Putin. In a deal to end the revolt, Putin guaranteed that Prigozhin would be allowed to leave for Belarus and that authorities would drop criminal mutiny charges against him and his fighters. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he told President Joe Biden in a phone call that the world “needs to put pressure on Russia.”

Latest cover

  • Blinken says Wagner uprising a ‘direct challenge’ to Putin

  • China backs Russia’s ‘national stability’ movement as diplomats meet

  • Silence covers the Kremlin after the Russian mutiny against Putin

  • Russia’s descent into chaos marks a ‘good day’ for Ukraine

  • What is the Russian Wagner Group and why was it accused of mutiny?

All times are CET

Give them a day off, Russian ministry advises (10:08 p.m.)

Russia’s Digital Development Ministry has recommended that employers of IT, telecommunications and media workers give them a day off on Monday, because Saturday – when mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin marched to Moscow – “was a day very emotional and stressful.”

Many ministry employees “spent the weekend at their place of work, so we also made this decision for our employees,” the Moscow-based department said on social media forum VKontakte.

Biden, Zelenskiy discuss Wagner mutiny (9:33 p.m.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he discussed a “further expansion of defense cooperation” with Joe Biden in a phone call on Sunday, including air defense and long-range weapons.

“The world must pressure Russia until international order is restored,” Zelenskiy said on his Twitter account.

A reading from the White House indicated that the US and Ukrainian presidents discussed support for Ukraine and the country’s push to retake Russian-occupied areas. Biden “reaffirmed the unwavering support of the United States” and the leaders “also discussed recent events in Russia.”

Macron says Russian “fragility” is exposed (7:25 p.m.)

French President Emmanuel Macron said the unrest in Russia “should make us very vigilant”, according to an interview with La Provence published on Sunday. He also said it “fully justifies our support for the Ukrainians in their resistance.”

Prigozhin’s now-halted march on Moscow highlights divisions in Russia as well as “the fragility” of its armed forces and auxiliary forces such as the Wagner Group, Macron said.

Lukashenko had another call with Putin, Belta says (5:20 p.m.)

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko spoke with Putin on Sunday morning, Belarusian state news agency Belta reported without providing details of the call, the couple’s second in as many days.

There has been no confirmation from official Russian sources regarding the call.

Lukashenko also had a phone call with former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev to discuss the situation in the region, Belta said in the same statement.

Blinken says uprising poses ‘direct challenge’ to Putin (3:18 p.m.)

Blinken said the Wagner Group revolt was a “direct challenge” to Putin’s authority and that the United States is focused on supporting Ukraine in its war to oust Russian forces.

“This raises deep questions. It shows real cracks,” Blinken said Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation. “We can’t speculate or know exactly where this will go. We know Putin has a lot more to answer in the weeks and months to come. »

“It’s an unfolding story. We haven’t seen the final act,” Blinken said, adding that US intelligence has seen no change in Russia’s nuclear stance amid the crisis. .

The Moscow exchange at work as usual on Mondays (1:40 p.m.)

Russia’s central bank said trading would be normal on the Moscow Stock Exchange on Monday, even after authorities in the capital declared Monday a day off. Financial organizations will continue to provide key functions, the Bank of Russia said in a statement posted on its website.

North Korea backs Putin’s decision on mutiny (1:30 p.m.)

Im Chon Il, North Korea’s deputy foreign minister, told Russian Ambassador Alexandr Matsegora that he hoped the latest rebellion in Russia would be successfully suppressed. The DPRK supports any decision made by the Russian leadership, the country’s Central News Agency reported.

Wagner’s forces leave Lipetsk, Voronezh regions (12:49 p.m.)

Members of the Wagner group have left the two regions, local authorities said, according to the RIA Novosti news agency. They were reportedly directed to their camps at unspecified locations.

Exchange of views between Chinese and Russian diplomats (11.08 a.m.)

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko in Beijing just a day after Moscow defused the biggest threat to Putin’s regime.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not provide details of the surprise visit, except to say that the two men exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern. Rudenko’s visit to Beijing was not announced in advance by China, raising questions about the timing of his visit.

The latest events in Russia were covered by Chinese state media, with the People’s Daily and CCTV both carrying stories as the news developed. The Global Times published an article by former editor Hu Xijin analyzing the scenarios the uprising could lead to, including regime change.

Roadblocks dismantled on highways leading to Moscow (10:20 a.m.)

All blockages on roads leading to Moscow are being removed, the Moscow administration reported, citing the Federal Roads Agency. Monday is still a day off for most Muscovites.

Russian and Ukrainian troops battle it out, UK says (8:40 a.m.)

Russian troops are trying to advance into eastern Ukraine, including around Bakhmut, while seeking to quash Kiev’s counteroffensive in the southern regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, the state said. Major of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in an update.

Ukrainian forces have reset in recent days and are “using the experiences of the first two weeks of the counter-offensive to refine the assault tactics of deep and well-prepared Russian defences”, the UK Ministry of Defense said.

In Luhansk, Kremlin forces made their own efforts to launch an attack in the Serebryanka forest near Kremina. “This likely reflects continued orders from senior Russian leaders to go on the offensive whenever possible,” the ministry said on Twitter, adding that Ukrainian forces had prevented a breakthrough so far.

Italy says peace in Ukraine now more likely (8:03 a.m.)

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said events in Russia showed his front in Ukraine was weaker, telling Messaggero in an interview that he hoped a peace deal in Ukraine would now be closer.

“Putin is no longer a myth,” he said.

US suspected Prigozhin was ready to act, NYT reports (8 a.m.)

US intelligence agencies informed senior military and administrative officials on Wednesday that Wagner Group chief Prigozhin was preparing to take action against senior Russian defense officials, The New York Times reported, citing officials that he did not identify.

The agencies remained silent on Prigozhin’s plans, whose information was considered ‘both solid and alarming’, as they believed that if they said anything, Putin could accuse them of orchestrating a hit of state, the NYT said.

A select group of congressional leaders were briefed on Thursday as further confirmation of the plot became known, the newspaper reported.

Kazakh leader hails resolution of events (8 a.m.)

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev praised the measures taken by the Russian authorities to restore constitutional order and ensure the safety of their citizens.

(An earlier version corrected Blinken’s first name.)

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